The Sunshine State Gained Another Top 25 Team as Florida Rose to #22, Giving the State of Florida Three Top 25 Teams
MTSU’s gutsy two-point conversion vs. FAU halted a clean sweep for Florida programs this past weekend. Florida State actually did something as they came from behind to beat Louisville. The Gators are shaping up to be a very good ball club; the loss to Kentucky doesn’t look so bad. And UCF is, well, UCF.
It doesn’t seem that AP voters watch as many games as they should, or at least not teams from the Sunshine State. The Knights climbed one spot to #12, but still have three one-loss teams ahead of them even though their win margin is 32 points; second only to #1 Alabama. The Hurricanes actually dropped one spot after their 47-10 victory over UNC on Thursday night in prime time.
USF wasn’t expected to be ranked due to their bye last week. However, the teams directly in front of the Bulls are a bit head-scratching: Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, and Boise State. The Gators were able to crawl back into the top 25 after their 13-6 victory on the road at #23 Mississippi State.
The Knights continue the nation’s longest winning streak as they notched their 17th-straight win by dominating Pitt. Quarterback McKenzie Milton totaled six touchdowns, making it 12 scores for his last two games.
“Our football team focuses on the daily task at hand. They are continuing to grow together. They are continuing to buy in to what we’re doing,” UCF coach Josh Heupel said. “That’s allowing us to play better in all three phrases. (Pitt) is a football team from one of those other conferences and we handled our business today.”
Due to the level of completion on the Knights schedule, they’re only ranked #12. If they want a shot at the playoff, they’ll need to improve on their 32-point win margin entering conference play.
Up Next: The Knights hosts SMU in their AAC home opener
Going into Thursday’s game vs. UNC, the starting quarterback was a mystery. Truly anyone could have played quarterback Thursday as the Miami’s defense outscored the Tar Heel’s offense. Miami head coach Mark Richt went with redshirt freshmen, N’Kosi Perry. Perry didn’t have to do much, completing 8-12 passes for 125 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.
“Overall, just a great win,” Richt said. “1-0 in conference play. That’s what we wanted to be. Now we have a little bit of rest, a little more rest than usual for next one against Florida State. We’re looking forward to that.”
There are no more quarterback questions as Richt has pegged Perry to start vs. Florida State this week. A much bigger test than UNC and FIU. It’ll be intriguing to see how Perry handles the pressure of the Miami-FSU rivalry. The guy he replaced, Malik Rosier, threw a game-winning touchdown pass on the road.
Up Next: Miami hosts Florida State in their ACC home opener
Florida 13 – Mississippi State 6
Coming into Saturday’s matchup with Miss St., the Gators had three wins with an average win margin of 37 points. Their loss came at home to Kentucky, who is now the 13th-ranked team in the nation. Florida is much better than some think, and they showed it Saturday on the road against a quality opponent.
“We found a way to win a different style game,” Florida head coach Dan Mullen said. “In this league you’re doing to win all different styles of games. Last week we won with the big play. This week we won by grinding it out.”
In the SEC, “grinding out” wins is the standard week in and week out. The Gators defense stepped up in a big way as they held the Bulldogs to 202 yards of total offense. Florida can’t afford 11 penalties going forward; the competition gets tougher starting next week.
Up Next: The Gators host LSU in their SEC home opener
Florida State 28 – Louisville 24
The Seminoles found their offense Saturday –at least their passing game–. Quarterback, Deondre Francios, and the Noles were able to take advantage of the Cardinals passing defense tossing four touchdowns. The fourth touchdown came after FSU came up with a late interception with less than two minutes left in the ball game.
“Deondre can throw the football and we’ve got guys who can catch it and run. We’ve got to continue to use that,” FSU head coach Willie Taggart said. “I can only imagine when we finally get our running game going, it will really help this offense go like we’re capable of.”
Florida State dug themselves into a 24-14 hole going into the fourth quarter. A loss would’ve given the “Fire Taggart” movement a little more momentum. However, the Noles –did something– finding a way to win.
Up Next: Florida State travels to Hard Rock Stadium to face the #17 Miami Hurricanes
FIU 55 – Arkansas Pine-Bluff 9
It was all gas no brakes in Miami as the Panthers routed the Golden Lions. FIU showed some explosiveness as they had three scores of 70 yards or more.
Up Next: The Panther hosts MTSU
FAU 24 – MTSU 25
The Owls lost an absolute heartbreaker on the road at MTSU. Its seemed FAU was in control with a 21-10 halftime lead. However, the Owls put up three points the second half.
The Blue Raiders trailed 24-17 with 38 seconds to go when they scored from the one-yard line ending the 42-yard drive. Then MTSU attempted a 2-point conversion pass to Gatlin Casey, giving Middle Tennessee the 25-24 edge.
Up Next: FAU hosts Old Dominion